After the recent unfortunate death of Tony Scott I thought I should finally get round to watching his most iconic film. Top Gun is that one everyone seems to love and I was ready for some top fun. The danger zone was waiting.
Tom Cruise (prick) plays ace pilot Maverick who ends up at the Top Gun flight academy due to his mad skills along with his copilot Goose (Anthony Edwards). The two enjoy their time drinking, playing volleyball, dicking around and of course, flying around in jets. It seems like the perfect life, and I’d love to have an instructor like Charlotte (Kelly McGillis). Though Tom Cruise would ruin my chances. Goddamn Tom Cruise! The mix of romance, fun and action make the pilot’s life the one for me, but it isn’t long before Maverick must deal with the reality that flying jets for the Navy brings. It sounds like the ultimate buddy action movie, and it was. In the 80’s.
Today Top Gun feels a bit creaky and I don’t have the nostalgia many others will have to oil over the old age. The relationship between Maverick and Goose feels like two people who hate each other being forced to get along. The large grins and wacky buddy banter between the two feels as real as Scientology and every character interaction is equally artificial, especially the moral rival Iceman (Val Kilmer) and his preaching ways. The awesome 80’s pop soundtrack and general positive fun vibe of the whole film bring it up a level so it doesn’t free fall, but the flight scenes are as interesting as a burnt out craft to watch. These moments were probably once dramatic back in the 80’s but constant switching between pilot close-ups and a jet flying haphazardly around the sky make it hard to engage with. It seems messy and it’s obviously because of limitations at the time, but I’d still say the romance plot line soars far higher than the films main premise.
I found Top Gun to be an entertaining buddy movie, but it is also a film which hasn’t aged well with time. Old fans will still see it as the classic they herald it to be, but I think rookie pilots are going to have a hard time. Not cut out for Top Gun at all. I think I’ll go embarrass myself with Goose.